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Draft decisions

Kudos to Indianapolis and Cincinnati, says Alex

Alex Ferguson Posted 2nd May 2012 view comments

After four days and a lot of picks, the NFL Draft is over, and now we can look forward to training camps, practice matches, and the first games of the season in September.

And with a slight tongue-in-cheek, knowing how bad some big-time picks will turn out, Alex Ferguson looks at how the AFC team fared.

New England Patriots

The Patriots needed defence, and they got it when they brought defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, the latter who was one of the premier linebackers in the draft. Eyes will also be on third-round pick (safety) Tavon Wilson, who is widely thought of as a 'reach'. GRADE: B+

Dennis Allen's Oakland Raiders have come out worse in the draft, says Alex

Dennis Allen's Oakland Raiders have come out worse in the draft, says Alex

Buffalo Bills

First round cornerback Stephon Gilmore should do wonders for the Bills in the secondary, and CB Ron Brooks (LSU) was part of one of the best secondaries in all of college football last year. Suddenly, quarterbacks had better watch out. GRADE: B+

New York Jets

We're not in love with any of the Jets' picks, although from what we've heard from college football experts, UNC's Quinton Coples is a fabulous defensive end and was a great pick - even though some people had South Carolina's Melvin Ingram higher. GRADE: C

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill didn't exactly light up the college football world last year at Texas A&M, and shouldn't have been the 'Fins No1 pick. On the other side, getting RB Lamar Miller from Miami as a late-round running back was actually a great move and BJ Cunningham, a WR from Michigan State, has good hands. But in Tannehill, we hold our breath.... GRADE: D+

San Diego Chargers

From Melvin Ingram at defensive end (first) to Brandon Taylor at safety (third) to offensive tackle David Molk (seventh) to bruiser Edwin Baker (seventh), the Chargers had an excellent long weekend out East. Well, apart from picking up Johnnie Troutman of Penn State, who's now announced he'll be undergoing surgery. GRADE: B+

Kansas City Chiefs

No-one's going to give the Chiefs points for Dontari Poe, but maybe head coach Romeo Crennel's thinking about Poe's upside rather than his present. Donald Stephenson - who's personal problems moved him down the draft - could be great if he behaves himself, and points to KC for getting RB Cyrus Gray and excellent wide receiver Junior Hemingway, who was great at Michigan. GRADE: B

Denver Broncos

Not sure about Denver's picks. Brock Osweiler wasn't brilliant at Arizona State down the stretch but will benefit from Peyton Manning's coaching. Ronnie Hillman will hurt running defences when he comes on for Moreno because of his speed, but really, Denver did all their work BEFORE the draft getting No18. GRADE: D

Oakland Raiders

Having sent most of their picks to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer, the Raiders were always in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' position. With no picks until round three, Oakland was damned by everybody after their picks. British bulldog Jack Crawford is going there with linebacker Nathan Stupar (Raiders fans will be hoping for the second coming of Sean Lee), but this is a draft indicative of a team waiting to give up on 2012. Matt Barkley in 2013, anyone? GRADE: E

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts added to the 'Andrew Luck party' by drafting two great young tight ends in Colby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and running back Vick Ballard. That should help them offensively. Defensively, everyone's talking about the upside to Josh Chapman, who won things with Alabama. This will serve them well in 2013. GRADE: A

Houston Texans

Again, solid from Houston. Jared Crick was a tackling machine at Nebraska, while Whitney Mercilus is an excellent prospect at end as the 'new Mario Williams' (they hope). People might be anguishing about getting wide receiver DeVier Posey from Ohio State, but Posey was excellent throughout his Buckeye career before his own stupidity forced him out for the first five games of 2011. Watch out for other WR Keshawn Martin, too. Matt Schaub has weapons. GRADE: B+

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars did well getting Justin Blackmon as a wide receiver. He'll be good at making Blaine Gabbert look good - if you believe the stories about how Blackmon made Brandon Weeden (his QB at Oklahoma State) into a decent QB. Andre Branch is also going to be helpful for Jacksonville's pass rush. And then Jacksonville got a PUNTER in the third. Doesn't exactly show confidence in Gabbert, does it? GRADE: C-

Tennessee Titans

Kendall Wright was a 'safe pair of hands' for Robert Griffin III at Baylor, and should do the same for Jake Locker in the NFL this year. But other than that, the Titans had a very ordinary draft - and will struggle in 2012 with it. GRADE: D

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals' front office got a lot of plaudits at the draft and it's not hard to see why. Dre' Kirkpatrick's going to be a great corner. Kevin Zeitler was part of a monstrous Wisconsin offensive line that produced huge offensive yardage last year. Orson Charles might be the tight end steal of the draft. What day! GRADE: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers once again drafted well, grabbing guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams in what some people believe were the, ahem, steals of the draft. Steeltown will be hoping Adams doesn't do what he also did at the Scouting Combine - and test positive for cannabis. Florida RB Chris Rainey's going to provide speed on special teams (he also had a personal problem or two), but won't be an everyday RB. The Steelers could have done with one of them after the injury to Rashard Mendenhall. GRADE: A-

Cleveland Browns

Sorry critics, the Browns got everything right in the first round. Trent Richardson was an excellent pick to try and sort out the running game now that Peyton Hillis has gone, and Brandon Weeden has the maturity and the game to become the Browns' quarterback leader. Will it help them in a nasty AFC North? Probably not. But at least they'll be competitive. GRADE: B+

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens weren't even IN the first round but still managed to get one of the best linebackers in the draft in Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, who was tremendous game in, game out for the Crimson Tide last season. Running back Bernard Pierce is really going to complement Ray Rice's game, and Streeter's going to provide speed at WR. GRADE: B+

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